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Old 01-04-2013, 08:47 AM
LewisM
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Planetary / lunar imaging

Is there a guide somewhere that shows the best methods for capturing planets and the Moon using a CCD? Can someone explain it for me please?

I have pretty much come to total grasps with imaging DSO's with my CCD, but have absolutely no clue the best methods for using it on planets and the moon.

What I would like to know is:
1. exposure length - I assume in mere seconds compared to my usual 300 seconds

2. amount of subs - again, I assume HUNDREDS of subs.

Any other help DEEPLY appreciated, because I have NEVER taken a decent image of any planets or Moon, and seeing the Moon is high and bright, DSO is out except Narrowband.

I will be using my FL102S refractor with the SXVR-M25C OSC CCD. Will it be better to keep it at native f/9.2, or bump it down with the FR to 6.4? I do NOT have a Barlow etc, so it will be native magnification anyway (perhaps not enough for Saturn?)
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:13 AM
Dennis
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Hi Lewis

The high-resolution Lunar and Planetary images you see on IIS are generally taken with webcams using Barlow’s (Powermates) with ‘scopes operating at between F16 and F30 at effective focal lengths of 3 to 5+ metres.

High resolution (as opposed to full disc) Lunar, Solar and Planetary imaging normally makes use of relatively inexpensive webcams rather than DSLRs or the traditional deep sky CCDs such as those from SBIG, Apogee, FLI, Starlight, etc.

Webcams are generally 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x960 and 1600x1200 pixel chips which take movies (AVI’s) of between 1000 and 3000 frames. Software then analyses the say, 3000 frames and based on user-set parameters, selects the sharpest, say 300 to 500 frames and then Aligns, Stacks and Finishes the final combined image (usually a .tiff, .bmp, .fit or .png).

An individual frame usually looks quite noisy and ‘thin” but when several hundred are combined, the final image looks cleaner, less noisy and reveals astonishing detail.

With the 4” Vixen you should be able to use an x2 to x2.5 Barlow/Powermate to obtain sufficient image scale although you will be somewhat limited by the modest aperture, compared to the top Planetary imagers on IIS who use instruments in the 11-16” class.

Cheers

Dennis
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:32 PM
LewisM
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Thanks Dennis - might have to use the 40D so I can use APT to capture it in AV mode.

IF I get a clear night...
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:09 PM
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pluto (Hugh)
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Most of the planetary stuff I've done is with a 5DmkII or a 7D and capturing using the 5x zoom capture in BYE. I've also just started using my QHY5L-II.

In my experience you want very short exposures, around 1/100th of a second has worked for me. I usually try and get about 1000 frames then stack in RegiStax.
You'll want more magnification so a barlow or powermate. I use a 2x barlow on my ED80 which brings it to f15 but I have no doubt I could get away with f30 on a bright target like the moon or Jupiter.

As for capturing with your CCD, you need to record video with it. Did the camera come with capture software? If so it should have some way of recording video.
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:58 PM
LewisM
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Yes, the CCD does have Starlight Xpress software. I'll check it out.

Meantime, I will use the 5D MkII, as I forgot the 40D doesn't do video! D'Oh! But, alas, yet again not tonight.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:21 PM
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rmuhlack (Richard)
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surely for lunar and planetary you'd be better using the VC200L rather than the refractor (more aperture and longer FL)...?
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:38 PM
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pluto (Hugh)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LewisM View Post
Meantime, I will use the 5D MkII, as I forgot the 40D doesn't do video! D'Oh! But, alas, yet again not tonight.
You can use the 40D if you use a program like Extra Webcam
It lets you use a Canon DSLR as a webcam, which means you can capture the liveview feed using any webcam recorder (I use sharpcap).
You might be able to do it in Backyard EOS too but I'm not sure about the 40D.

The 40D might be better that the 5DmkII as it has smaller pixels and the liveview feed should be the same resolution.
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